The Week (US)

Got a home? These guys want to buy it


Ben Eisen

Chuck Vukotich’s yellow-brick Cape Cod isn’t for sale. But that hasn’t stopped real estate speculator­s from hounding him, said Ben Eisen. “They fill his mailbox with fliers teasing all-cash deals and quick closings.” They call multiple times a week. At times, it can seem like everyone is trying to get in on the “housing boom that has sent prices soaring in such places as Austin and Miami.” The frenzy has now reached nondescrip­t neighborho­ods “where homes that typically sell for less than $100,000 are abuzz.” One of those places is Penn Hills, about 15 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The median sale price in this working-class suburb was just $132,000 in April. But

that’s 19 percent higher than a year earlier. Vukotich paid his mother $55,000 for the four-bedroom house in 2016. He said he “hasn’t spoken to any of the investors long enough to get an offer.” But Zillow’s Zestimate tool puts the value in this hot market at $125,000. Real estate investor Nick Schindehet­te,

24, is among the dozens offering cash for Vukotich’s home. He regularly “mails out between 5,000 and 20,000 cards each month to homeowners in 20 ZIP codes” where he thinks he can make a profit flipping houses. Schindehet­te said that “a successful response rate would be 1 percent.” But in a market short on supply, that’s enough to keep hunting.

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